Getting around Amsterdam is easy, most things are easily accessible on foot, but sometimes you may want to rest and try some local locomotion!
The GVB network is well integrated, allowing you to buy a ticket and travel on any bus, train, tram or metro, although the metro is only really used to go to the suburbs. By far, the easiest way to get around the city is on foot, as many attractions are within walking distance of each other; traveling on foot allows you to absorb the atmosphere of the city and offers no restrictions.
There are more than 800,000 inhabitants in Amsterdam and there are even more bikes for a ratio of around 1.5 per citizen! Bicycles are the preferred method of travel for residents due to the inadequacy of roads for motor vehicles and the glaring lack of parking spaces. There are numerous cycle paths through the city marked in white lines, bicycle rental shops (around € 8 per day see below) and bicycle storage facilities dotted around. Never leave your bike unattended as bike theft is common; preferably use two bicycle locks attached to a fixed object; wheel reflectors are mandatory, as are lights at night, and cycling more than one file is illegal. Watch out for pedestrians passing in front of you and note that trams will only stop if absolutely necessary! Take a bike ride in the pedestrian areas or in the crowds. Biking is a way of life for many but a great way to explore for the tourist!
Canals are synonymous with Amsterdam and offer another form of transport. Pleasure cruises are a great way to see the city, but also consider boats as a means of getting around. There are water taxis and river buses, although these are separate from the GVB ticketing system. Why not rent a canal bike for a bit of fun – but watch out for the bigger boats – the size means a right of way on the canal system! A Canalbus day ticket will cost you around € 16 and will last until 1200 hours the next day and stops at most of the main attractions along the canals.
Buses are a great way to get around Amsterdam with many routes serving suburbs and more distant attractions. Buses and trams run from approximately 6:00 a.m. Monday to Friday, 6:30 a.m. on Saturdays, and 7:30 a.m. on Sundays; they tend to be most used when the metro and trams stop. There are night bus services from midnight at around 0600h – 0630h on weekends which all return to Centraal station. Night buses are marked at bus stops in a black square with a number (from 353) and cover a range of routes around the city and to the suburbs. Tickets must be synchronized on buses and trams with an alert system recently implemented to differentiate boarding (one beep), disembarkation (two beeps) and error (three beeps).
Trains run from 0600h (M-F), 0630h (Sat) and at around 1215h throughout the week, there are four lines that connect parts of the suburbs to the city center. There will be planned outages and closings in the summer of 2013 while the system is upgraded and extended, so check the GVB website below for more details. Work in progress is expected to be completed in 2015 and will include Noord / Zuidlijn north / south beyond Centraal station via Dam Platz and Rokin on Zuid / WTC.
A new smart card system has been introduced in the Amsterdam GVB, called ov-chipkaart, which is available in a dazzling range of options. The simplest options are purchased for their duration in hours, i.e. 24, 48, 72, etc. Make sure to point in and out of each public transport you use, otherwise the card will stop working. One-hour disposable cards are also available at the current price of € 2.80. Cards can be purchased at stations or at the entrance of some supermarkets and at a high price on some buses and trams. Tickets for the night bus are separate and cost from € 3 with several travel tickets available at all GVB ticket offices and at the tourist office outside the central station.
6. Rented Skates
Whether you want to amaze spectators at the Museumplein half-pipe or rush through the friendly streets of inline skates sharing the cycle paths, the city is a friendly place for the little ones. There are several outlets for renting such equipment, including a couple in the Vondelpark. If you are feeling daring, why not join Friday Night Skateboarding from the Vondelpark film museum at 8 p.m. for a 15 km walk through the city – protective clothing is recommended!
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